I disassembled my bike's drivetrain to degrease and regrease all the components. I used a chain-breaker for the first time (previous bikes had a master link) to open a chain link and remove the chain. Afterwards, I reassembled the chain but found the link I'd opened is very stiff to the point where, as the link emerges from the chainring, it stays bent until it moves through the derailer and which point it snaps straight again.

I tried making small adjustments to the rivet holding the link together and adding additional lubricant with no success. I even removed that link from the chain completely (assuming I'd bent something slightly), only to have the next link I opened/closed become the stiff one.

Is this normal after using a chain-breaker to open a link? Should I expect the stiffness in the link to work itself out, or have I done something wrong? Is there anything else I can try to loosen up the stiff link?

2 Answers 2


Only if you didn't relieve the link after putting it back together. It's standard procedure (if you read the instructions that came with the tool) -- you stick the chain tool into the "stiff" link so that the anvil is BETWEEN the sides of the link and only catches the near face, then crank the tool's pin down VERY SLIGHTLY against the chain pin, just enough to create some play.

  • This makes my previous answer obsolete. Thanks for the information! I didn't know what those extra teeth were for, since my chain tools never came with a manual. Feb 23, 2012 at 0:01
  • By the way, since I surrendered to the wonders of Power Links (I use mostly KMC chains, were a bit skeptical about those links), my life changed forever. Feb 23, 2012 at 0:02
  • Yeah, I use PowerLinks too. I can use a chain tool in a pinch, but with my tremor the PowerLinks work much better. Feb 23, 2012 at 0:11

EDIT: The answer posted by Daniel Hicks and the comment by user973810 are better. Just in case, the following method works.

(Unfortunately, this is normal.)

When the link is closed back, the opposing compression caused by the chain tool and the incoming pin makes the outer plates become hardly pressed against each other, which means they press all other layers (inner plates and roller) too.

Fortunately it is very easy to "fix" it: just grab firmly with your hands, one around each side of the hard link, and bend it SIDEWAYS, with some serious force (but not raw violence), as if you wanted to bend the chain. Do it for both sides ("left" and "right" of the chain). You'll notice the link is now free. If it is just less stiff, do it again. Don't be afraid, it won't damage the chain, only your wrists if you don't grab firmly (because the chain might suddenly flex along it's normal flexing direction, twisting your hands).

Unfortunatly, most times this procedure leaves your hands stained/dirty. You can use gloves or some pieces of old newspaper to avoid it.

Hope it helps.

  • Awesome, and somewhat obvious when you think about the mechanics of what's going on I guess. Will accept as soon as I can test this out, but I suspect you're right.
    – user229044
    Feb 22, 2012 at 19:23
  • 1
    usually your answers are pretty good, but I think you're off base here. Most chain tools have a second set of teeth that are meant for loosening tight links. Just put the loose link over the inner set of teeth and give the tiniest of turns to the pin. That's all it takes to loosen the link. Feb 22, 2012 at 23:47
  • @user973810 So that's what those teeth are used for! Nice to know that, thanks! Well, even though, the brute force method works, too... Feb 22, 2012 at 23:57

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